By Linda Rasmussen
Northeast Community Center volunteer
and Kim Montagriff
Northeast Community Center executive director
In the heart of Hollywood lies a gem of the neighborhood. While some gems – like diamonds and opals – can be centuries old, the Northeast Community Center (NECC) is a mere 10 years old. But NECC shines in our community every bit as brightly as any jewel.
It is hard to imagine that only 10 years ago, the community was in danger of losing this gem. The Northeast Family YMCA, a neighborhood fixture since 1925, announced that it was closing its doors. A passionate group of neighbors and supporters banded together to ensure that the building would remain open to serve future generations.
That dedicated group started with a vision that went well beyond merely keeping the doors open. Their vision was to transform the unique historic building into a vibrant center that supported the community while serving the fitness and wellness needs of all ages. The entire building was renovated and new equipment and programs were added, with volunteers investing their time, energy, vision, resources, and “can-do” spirit. A spunky little non-profit was born, and this year the NECC is celebrating 10 years of building community wellness.
During those 10 years, thousands of young swimmers have become safer in the water; youth and adult basketball players have honed their skills; dancers, Yogi’s and Pilates devotees have improved their flexibility and refined their practices; weight lifters have become stronger; artists have shown their work; Book Clubs have discussed and debated numerous volumes; infants and toddlers have played the morning away in Child Watch; Active Older Adults have gone hiking and been introduced to Tai Chi; preschoolers have created “Messy Art” and kicked soccer balls; and school-age day campers have engaged in sensory-rich programs and activities that build life-long healthy habits and spark creativity.
Ten years since its humble beginnings, the NECC is growing and thriving. Volunteer and community support remains integral to the energy and spirit of the organization. Each day brings multi-generational families and individuals of all ages in to the NECC, and the facility has become not just a center for fitness, but a center for life. And with each visit and activity, the fabric of our community becomes stronger.
The NECC is proud of its history, and would like to thank the community for its support and for the privilege of serving its neighbors. All Hollywood Star News readers are invited to bring their friends and families to the NECC for an open house on Sunday, February 8, from 1:30-4 p.m. If you haven’t seen the NECC lately, come take a peek – we are located in the triangle of Northeast 39th Avenue, Broadway and Sandy Boulevard, just west of Starbucks. The NECC open house will include free swimming, multi-age activities, refreshments and live music. A visual history of the NECC will be shown throughout the day. For those interested, volunteers will be available for facility tours.
Throughout the year, the NECC will be hosting community activities and events to celebrate 10 years of building community wellness. We look forward to ensuring that this gem of Hollywood retains heirloom quality for generations to come.
More information: necommunitycenter.org, Northeast Community Center, 1630 N.E. 38th Ave., (503) 284-3377.